Dane Bays, alto saxophone
Dena Pruitt, vocals/keyboards
Mark Cooper, bass/lead guitar
Produced by JSoulonfire
This hard-hitting neo-rap/soul set features renowned wordsmith D-PRIEST. A powerful, metaphoric release, Words as Weapons is artistic and uncompromising, including such relentless jams as I Know and They Say.
When I first listened to D-Priest rap (back on one of the first Inarhyme CD’s with the American Music Project) & Dane Bays’ reed work, I was mightily impressed with the talent & energy that shone through. That album was more focused on the integration of jazz; this ’round emphasizes the rap side of the musical coin, but D. & crew stay true to their goal…real stories about real people told in the “people’s language”. I was actually a bit surprised when the request came in to write these liners, since I told them I wouldn’t “sugar coat” anything in any liners I wrote…yet honored to be asked.
I’m still not a big fan of the “MF” words (& there are more than a few, though they’re far outweighed by insightful tales), but the story (if the rapper spits it right) is much larger than an individual word or two…of course, I don’t think I’d be playing this CD for my mother (God rest her soul), either…but as you’ll hear on Queen, which integrates some fine vocalizing from Dena Pruitt, D-Priest knows better than most how important it is to keep variety in the mix & his partner Dane Bays knows right where to emphasize a phrase with his saxophones…you won’t hear any old worn-out cliché phrases here…every moment is pure story-telling, & what’s behind it all is hope – & if that ain’t cool, I don’t know what is!
You can read the credits to see all the players, but I’ll tell you now, there’s real talent here…Priest doesn’t “let up” on the form, he makes sure he’s speaking the language of real through all 41 (or so) minutes, and there’s solid music (as well as the obligatory beat) pushing his vibe along. If you limit your mind to only one genre, or totally refuse to hear what those real folks are saying (like NOW, people), I’ve no doubt you’ll be among the first targets of the revolution when it comes…but if your real focus is high energy & solid talent, you’ll dig down deep into D.’s rap & come away with some “real knowledge” of what can be done when true artists gather together to put a vision out that includes everyone but will leave the hardheads in the dust. I’m truly reminded of a group (back in the ’60’s & ’70’s) called “The Last Poets”, albeit with a 21st Century viewpoint and skill set that will keep these 13 tunes up at the top of your playlists – even if you’re not a “hard rapster” – you’ll “get it” after you take your headphones off & step on down th’ street.
I’ll say this as a parting shot…the “Words As Weapons